tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC December 15, 2012 4:00am-5:00am PST
speaker john boehner issued a statement that the republican address will not be happening this weekend so that "president obama can speak for the nation at this time of mourning." i join the president in condolences and prayers to the victims' loved ones. and at 7:00 p.m. on sunday, there will be an interfaith church service in newtown. the next briefing is expected to be held at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. at msnbc, our continued coverage. we'll continue now and into the night. weekends with alex witt" starts now. >> a quiet corner of america shattered. >> caller indicating she thinks someone is shooting in the building. >> chilling words in the midst of an attack on the least among
us. the unimaginable deaths of small children at the hands of a young gunman. an elementary classroom, the killing field. what's left this morning? a small city of grief. a state in mourning. a country with new questions about the price of freedom. good morning, everyone. and welcome to "weekends with alex witt." we're calling it a tragedy, but that particular word nor any other could describe what happened on a cold, bright winter morning in newtown, connecticut. i'm afraid the answers we try to provide in the next hour to the most pressing questions will feel inat adequate to all of us, but we'll try with an admitedly heavy heart. here is what we know. there are new details to report among the 28 people dead are 20 schoolchildren, ages 5 to 10, and the gunman, who also killed his mother, prior to the massacre. this is the nation's second deadliest shooting. 33 people died at virginia tech in 2007. at this hour, investigators are
working to learn as much as they can about the gunman. he's been identified as 20-year-old adam lanza. so far, authorities have not spoken publicly about a possible motive. ♪ >> the community is in mourning, at least 2,000 gathered for a vigil last night at a local church, lighting candles and singing hymns while trying to console each other. many in shock. >> when i saw a shooting, i -- i couldn't even process that, a shooting here in newtown, and it was hours later when they started coming out with the numbers, and you just -- it didn't seem real. it seems like this is wrong. a lot of information today, a lot of misinformation given at different times. and you have to say to yourself it can't be real. you didn't want to believe it. >> let's go to newtown, connecticut and msnbc's chris jansing. welcome, chris. we're expecting a news
conference in about an hour. what are we hoping learn? >> we do, hope, alex and good morning that there will be official identification of the victims. i know that the medical examiner had been working through the night at the scene, and we saw just around 11:00 last night, an exed on us of quite a few vehicles. we had seen earlier in the night, one of the medical examiner's vehicles leaving the general area, and the huge exodus. slow, painstaking. the crime scene described as devastating. the law enforcement officers that i spoke with say they had never seen anything like it before. and obviously in a situation like this, we are going to make 100% sure you have these identifications correct, and so there was not just visual ids, but also scientific ids is the way they put it. i talked to a state police official who hopes at 8:00 they will have that. as they were watching the exodus of cars yesterday from the crime
scene late at night, there were four in a row, each of them holding a member of the religious. it appeared to be four priests. we had spoken to monsignor robert weiss, pastor at a church -- >> one of the ladies, her phone just went off, it was time to take her little boy to a cub scout meeting and she realized, you know, i can't take him now. those kinds of moments are really hard on these parents. it was awful. excuse me. i mean, these are 20 people a week before christmas that just lost their joy. how do you -- how do you live with that? >> this obviously is a community that is trying to figure out how to cope, how to understand something that defies understanding. and the local rabbi told me that they will be having a service, a memorial service and a service of support for this community today at the synagogue, alex.
>> you know, chris, i'm a mother as you know. you know my children, and as a mother, i'm putting myself in the shoes of those parents, when you talked about the identification of those bodies, were -- was it the parents that had to go into the school, into that scene of carnage? do we know how that process worked? >> no. it was -- it was a scientific process that was done by the medical examiner's office, i did get confirmed this morning, that everyone who lost a loved one has been officially notified. that all of those positive ids have been made, but, again, the way they described it was a scientific -- scientific identification. i think it's an important thing to note that the people who were working on this are members of this community, they know these families, they know these people. it was very important for them that they do it in a way that was obviously very sensitive to the enormous grief that people
are feeling, and investigators on the scene say that this was a chillingly accurate attack. just remember, all of the people who were shot, only one survived. the people who did -- were the victims of this, most of the -- most of the firings were at close range, is and as you reported, they did not survive, alex. >> what has yet to be understood is why adam lanza went from killing his mother, nancy, to that school. her association with the school, has that been specifically defined yet? >> we know she worked at the school. that's how it's being described. that she worked at the school. he began his day apparently at home. we believe he shared his mother's home. she was shot there. that is what police are indicating to us. then he went to the school itself. now, i should say that the principal there had just
instituted a new security system. you had to be buzzed in, and "the new york times" is reporting that it was actually the principal who buzzed in adam lanza. she obviously recognized him as the son of one of the employees. when he went inside, he first went we are told into the administration office, they were going through morning announcements. now, people in other classrooms all throughout the school, heard those shots fired, and the associated press reports that someone had the presence of mind to leave open that intercom system and the fact that other people in the building were able to hear what was going on may, indeed, have saved lives, they were able to do what they are trained to do in an emergency situation like this. to get children to the safest possible place and lock the doors. so there was in a sense, a warning system there, alex. >> yeah, and you're right. it saved lives, but the tragedy
here as well, these teachers need to be trained in dealing with this type of situation. chris jansing, thank you so much. i know we will see you throughout the day. for more on the suspected gunman, i'm here with criminologist james fox. welcome to you, sir. 20 children killed in the massacre. who kills innocent children? >> someone who wants to hurt society if that's your goal, you know at a school, have you congregated, lots of innocent lives. society's most cherished members. what we do know about mass murderers, they are very deliberate, they want to get even, they want to hurt us where it hurts the most and something like this absolutely does. >> if you look at the pattern of the day, as it has been mapped out thus far of adam lanza, goes, kills his mother and goes to her place of employment. what does that tell you about his state of mind that day? do you think he intended to not survive? >> i believe he intended to take
his own life. now, he apparently was wearing a bulletproof vest, which suggested he wanted to be the one to be in control to decide when it would end by his hand, not by the police, but what you often find is gunmen who are very clear headed, very calm, methodical in planning, what they are going to wear, where they are going to go, what they will do whether they get there. as far as why the children were killed, certainly we can understand lots of situations where someone kills a parent. but here, one can only surmise that children are seen as an extension of his mother. a further way to get back at her, would be to kill those whom she loved. >> you talk about extensive planning. how extensive? in the mind of a madman like this, can this be in the works for years? a year? a week? a day? >> well, the columbine shooters were planning for a year. we know that from the diary.
it's not a sudden episode. it's not someone who just suddenly snaps and goes berserk and happens to have thousands of rounds of ammunition in the trunk of the car for just such an indication. these are well-planned executions. they decide they want to get even, that life is not worth living anymore, they are miserable, but other people have to pay for their misery. other people have to die as well. >> hmm. he has been described by someone who knew him as very remote, one of the goths. we always talk about signs. what can we look for that is reliable indication that something is wrong here? >> nothing really. the problem, there are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of americans, who would have these same warning signs who are isolated, lonely, angry, maybe dress in black, but they don't kill. we simply cannot figure these people out and identify them in
advance. these warning signs that we'll start hearing about are only crystal clear in the aftermath. we cannot predict. >> all right, james fox, i had ask you not to stray too far. we'll talk to you later. thank you very much. well, the students and staff that escaped the school face a new challenge, coping with the unimaginable grief. teachers are being called heroes for sheltering students from the gunman as he moved through the school. one student described what happened with the permission of his parents. >> the teacher told us to all go where the library is, and that's -- and get behind something, so nobody -- since there was a window and the door nobody would -- the guy wouldn't see us and i heard that the guy was trying -- wanted to kill us. and i went to the mufblg room a -- music room and i was close to the music room. >> joining me now, colleen bryant at a nearby elementary
school in newtown. you knew three adults who died in the attack. have you spoken with their families? >> no, i have not. we're still all just -- excuse me. >> i was going to ask, who were the three that died in the attack that you knew? >> i don't know if the names have been released yet, so i don't want to say, but i know that they were workers at the school, and people who i -- colleagues of mine. >> and you talk about newtown. people say it's such a charming, close enclave, that everybody knows everybody. is that true? if so, how do you take what happened at this neighboring school back to your own school? how do you describe this to your students? >> yeah, i think that's the piece that we are all grappling with last night. it is such a close-knit
community, one of the reasons my husband and i moved here. the schools are wonderful, and that's sort of what i was thinking about last night, was how -- how we're going to cope when we have to go back to school. if we go back to school on monday, nothing has been said to us yet. what will happen with sandy hook, what will happen with those students who are left. i think that's the piece that we're all going to be working with and struggling over the next few days to figure out what the plan is going to be. >> yeah. colleen, what is protocol for stuart at your school? >> excuse me? say that again? >> protocol for security. have you been trained in things, for instance, it has been reported at this school, sandy hook elementary, the shooter had to be buzzed into the school. it was that secure of a place we all believed. >> yes. >> what's it like at your school? >> the same with our school. the doors are all locked and you have to be buzzed into the
school. there is a camera, so that the desk can see who is coming into the building. and then once you're in the building if you don't have a sticker or a badge, then we ask -- we say, can i help you? what can i help you with? if it's somebody we don't recognize. a parent we might not recognize. we certainly ask. over the past few years, that's bothered some people, but for the safety of the children, we still always, always do that. >> colleen bryant, you have a very tough task ahead when school resumes, whether it's monday or elsewhere. thank you for your time with us on msnbc. good luck. >> thank you. thank you very much. thanks. >> more from investigators when the s.w.a.t. state police hold a news conference coming your way at the top of the hour, we'll bring that to you live. more from pete williams. new details on the gunman. the latest from pete, next. capella university understands businesses are trying to come back from rough economic times.
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we will leave no stone unturned as we look at every gas set of this investigation. whether it's the shooter, any of the victims. we'll look at everything. we certainly will go in and work with fellow law enforcement, including federal agencies if we need to, to answer every question of what transpired here. >> that was paul vance of the connecticut police promising a thorough investigation. we're learning a bit more about who authorities believe fired the fatal shots and others caught up in the violence. nbc's pete williams is joining us with more. good day to you. >> alex, good morning to you the man behind one of the worst mass shootings in u.s. history was a 20 year old, whose brother has told them that the gunman had a
history of mental problems, but the precise nature of his connection to the elementary school is not yet clear this morning. investigators say the horrifying day began three miles from the santdy hook school, at the house where the gunman, identified by authorities as 20-year-old adam lanza, lived with his mother nancy who had worked at the school. they believe he shot and killed her there, then drove her car to sandy hook elementary. he was dressed all in black and heavily armed. carrying three guns, two handguns and a rifle. those weapons were legally purchased by his mother. once inside, he fired dozens of grounds, killing the children at close range. >> minutes after our officers were there, they realized, you know, what a horrific scene we had there. >> at first, there was widespread confusion about the gunman's identity. officials say that's because adam lanza was carrying an id belonging to his 24-year-old brother ryan who lives in
hoboken, new jersey, 80 miles away. authorities questioned him, but they believe adam acted on his own. ryan was released late friday night after hours of questioning. they told him that adam lanza had a history of mental health issues and they haven't spoken in two years. they spoke with the man's father and searched on social media looking for clues on what led to such an unthinkable mass shooting. >> an investigation like this is a puzzle. we want to show a complete picture to understand what occurred. >> friends who knew adam lanza say he was quiet, very intelligent, not at all social and there was nothing about him that would suggest the potential for such an extremely violent act. alex. >> pete, there will be a news conference at the top of the hour. what are the key questions that we want answers to?
>> gee, there are so many. fundamental question is why. and i can't imagine they will have any better answer to that this morning. it will take days and days to figure out. i think the big question today will be when will they identify formally the people who were shot? that could come as early as today. they will formally identify what the world knows is adam lanza as the gunman. and perhaps give a little better timeline on how it happened. how, for example, he was able to get into the school, there was a door, a lock, you had to be buzzed in at the hour he arrived there. there is some suggestion this morning he simply fired his weapons at the glass, shattered the glass and that's how he got in. that's one of the things perhaps they can give a little better timeline on what happened, and give us some more details about how it unfolded. >> msnbc's pete williams in
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predictive intelligence with google now complete. introducing droid dna by htc. it's not an upgrade to your phone. it's an upgrade to yourself. following the deaths of students and teachers in connecticut, president obama spoke about the tragedy again this morning in his weekly address. >> as a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. an elementary school in newtown, a shopping mall in oregon, a house of worship in wisconsin, a movie theater in colorado, countless street corners in places like chicago and philadelphia. >> nbc's kristen welker at the white house. the president included that statement in the weekly address about the shootings. but yesterday he had a very emotional reaction. >> it was really one of the most
emotional responses that we've ever seen from this president, alex. he was reacting not only as the president, as the commander in chief, but also as a father who has two young daughters. one of his main goals yesterday was to send a message to connecticut that their tragedy is the nation's tragedy. here is a little bit of what he had to say yesterday. take a listen. >> i know there is not a parent in america who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that i do. the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. they had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of
their own. >> and, alex, the president wasn't just emotional. he also seemed resolved to revisit the issue of gun laws. you heard him talk about it in his weekly address. and yesterday the need for meaningful action regardless of the politics. now, in terms of the timeline, the president was informed about the tragedy friday morning, 10:30 a.m., informed by his national security adviser john brenn brennan, updated about the situation throughout the day. he made phone calls to fbi director robert mueller and the governor of connecticut, danell malloy, and offer the full support and resources of the federal government. president obama has ordered that all flags on all federal buildings in washington, d.c. be flown at half staff, a sign of
the collective grief this nation is feeling over what has happened in connecticut. alex, it is usual for the president to go and visit a community, when it is suffering so much. we saw this after the shooting in tucson, after the shooting in aurora, colorado. i would not be surprised if we saw that again, but at this point in time, the white house has not released any of those plans. alex. >> kristen, it has been reported that the president had a longer statement prepared yesterday and that due to his overwhelming emotion as the president of this country, as a father himself, and the elm pa elm path empathy feeling, he couldn't get through? >> that's right. we have heard that he couldn't get through his entire speech because he was so overcome with emotion. i can give you a little more information behind the scenes. a lot of reporters went in,
prepared to shout out questions, when he became so emotional, when he left, you could have heard a pin drop in the briefing room. everyone was left speechless. alex. >> i think an appropriate response. all of us left speechless. you can hear the tears. next, we'll talk to a member of the community who has cons e consoled some of the victims' families. i'm ensure clear... clear, huh? i'm not juice or fancy water. i've got nine grams of protein. that's three times more than me! [ female announcer ] ensure clear. nine grams protein. zero fat. in blueberry/pomegranate and peach. [ male announcer ] the way it moves. the way it cleans. everything about the oral-b power brush is simply revolutionary. oral-b power brushes oscillate, rotate and even pulsate to gently loosen and break up that sticky plaque with more brush movements than manual brushes and even up to 50% more than leading sonic technology brushes
with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. information on my phone. connection to doctors who get where i'm from. and tools to estimate what my care may cost. so i never missed a beat. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. i didn't know where she was and it was the happiest moment of my life when i saw she was okay. and her little friends, all her little friends were okay in her class. >> a grateful but emotional mother outside the school yesterday. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." the whole country is mourning the loss of life in newtown, connecticut. many in the tight-knit community gathered for a candle-light vig vigil. 2,000 packed a local church while others stood outside to pray and comfort one another and
we're learning new details about what happened. 28 people are dead, including 20 children at the elementary school. police say the shooter, adam lanza, also killed his mother and himself. lanza may have suffered from a personality disorder. the 20-year-old was an honors student who lived in a prosperous newtown neighborhood with his mother. he had no criminal history. this is the time of year when people in newtown would normally be preparing for christmas. instead, this town felt the need to get together. joining she robert weiss of st. rose of lima church. i saw the video of you yesterday, and you broke down after spending some time consoling family members of the victims. talk about their new reality. how they were feeling yesterday and what their lives are like today. >> you know, yesterday i think it was just -- unreal, and
people were just hoping and praying, they were sitting in this room because it was a mistake. early this morning, i was out with the police. we went to two families to confirm, one, a teacher had died, the other, their child had died. it's unimaginable the grief that these people are feeling. you send your children to school, you send your wife to work, and you just assume it's going to be another day. and you would never imagine in a few short hours, life will change forever for these people. i give them a great deal of credit for their faith, and for the way this community has come together to be a support and consolation for each other. last night, this vigil that our church was just overwhelming, and there were probably as many people outside as there were inside. we opened the windows so people could hear and feel they could be part of it. it's time for us to come together, even though it's in this christmas season. >> you know, you're not immune from this pain. because it's been reported that you baptized some of these children that were killed. >> i did.
many of the families are parishioners of ours. some of these children went to our preschool program, some of them are enrolled in our religious formation program. some preparing for their first holy commune. one little girl who was going to be an angel in our christmas pageant at christmas eve mass. very close to home for me. >> how do you help in particular the children to recover from something like this. i know you can talk to parents, you can reason with them and afford them a sense of faith in all of this. but children what do you do with them? >> you know, yesterday i was asked to tell an older brother that his sister had died, and i sat there with him, and the first thing he said was my best friend is gone, who am i going to play with? i tried to console with him and say you'll have other friends, and he said i'll never have another friend like my sister. it will ta a long time. the family yesterday, their son
had just asked about dying the day before, and she couldn't understand why. and just reminded him, you know, when we finish this life on earth there, is a better life for us and we're with god and we're safe. so the faith of these people is coming through, even in this time of great anguish. talking to our children will be a challenge for all of us. many of them are very afraid about what lies ahead for them. so it's going to take a lot of time. take a lot of energy on the part of all of us. this is the kind of community that pulls together to do the right thing. >> you know, i'm the mother two of children, and anyone know whos me knows me that i've said if something happened to my children, i don't know if i could go on. a sentiment that is being reflected in many backyards from there. >> absolutely. >> what are you telling families? >> i was with a mother who said she wasn't sure how she was going to raise her other children after this. we have to take this day by day,
work on healing and being present to each other, the worst days are ahead. the reality is just starting to settle into the lives of these parents. i'm sure this morning when they woke up and realized there was an empty bed in their house, it's becoming more and more real to them. we'll work hard as a community. the clergy have come together here. the community has come together to work with families and these children. >> monsignor, right now people must be in a state of shock. at what point, or how long it takes for that numbing shock to wear off and the reality to set in? with your experience in grief counseling? >> you know, i tell you in this community, i don't think the shock will ever wear off. this is a community that people choose to live in because it's a safe place, a healthy place for children to grow up. it's all about families here. and i'm not sure this is ever going to go away. you know, certainly time takes some of the pain away, but the memory is always going to be part of this community, and i am
hoping it's an opportunity for all of our families to sit down and renew their priorities with each other. we have gotten too busy in this society and sometimes we have forgotten the things that are really important, especially family. and it's my great hope, as hobl as this is, it will help people come back to what is really important. >> and, sir, i'm sure you have a lot of wonderful celebrations planned for the christmas holidays. but this happening so close to christmas, how can you, if ever, separate christmas from this tragedy in the future? >> you know, it's interesting, some asked me last night if we should turn off the christmas lights? you know what? there are 20 bright lights up in christmas brighter than any christmas lights and we have to go on. this is the season of hope for those who know christ and we have to hold on to that hope and know that christ will console discuss show us the way to peace. so the celebrations are
certainly going to have the very different tone to it this year, but we decided we have to continue on and we have to keep bringing the message of this season to this world. >> monsignor robert weiss. i appreciate your words. i'm sure so many do in newtown and across this nation watching you. thank you so much. >> thank you. now for more on the investigation and the community trying to comprehend the unthinkable. nbc's lester holt has more from newtown. ♪ sleep in heavenly peace >> on friday night, the community of newtown, connecticut, gathered to remember their fallen. just ten hours earlier, the first calls of distress came in this normally quiet town. >> sandy hook school. caller is indicating she thinks that someone is shooting in the building. >> okay, units in the school. i've got bodies here. >> the sandy hook elementary school, what is described as a
little country school in southern connecticut is a scene of carnage. >> they searched every nook and cranny. >> by the time police mobilized, 20 children, all between the ages of 5 and 10, and 6 adults already dead. the gunman dead of a self-infleself-i self-inflicted gunshot. >> i kept hearing booming noises, and we all huddled. >> i kept smelling smoke. >> parents were left explain the impossible. 1 students pronounced dead at the scene. >> the shootings took place in one section of the school in two rooms. >> two others taken to hospitals and later pronounced dead. the shooter, identified as 20-year-old adam lanza. whose mother nancy lanza worked at the elementary school. it is believed lanza first shot and killed his mother at her newtown home before driving to the school in his mother's black
honda, carrying two semi automatic pistols and an assault rifle. 24-year-old ryan, lanza's brother, was taken in for questioning by police. he has since been released. officials say he is not a suspect. at 3:15, a visibly shaken president obama addressed the nation. at times finding it hard to remain composed. >> they had their entire lives ahead of them. birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. >> the president echoing the grief and emotion of a nation at another smalltown rocked by violent tragedy. >> it was awful. excuse me. i mean, these are 20 people the week before christmas that just lost their joy. >> evil visited this community today. and it's too early to speak of
recovery. but we're all in this together. >> and that was nbc's lester holt reporting from connecticut. we are expecting a police briefing at the top of the hour and the continuing search for answers behind this school massacre. also ahead, more on how america is reacting to this horrific attack. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." for those with visions of doing this... ...this... ...and this, dancing in their heads... ...we have these. home depot gift cards. give the gift of doing, in-store or online. [ male announcer ] jill and her mouth have lived a great life. but she has some dental issues she's not happy about. so i introduced jill to crest pro-health for life. selected for people over 50. pro-health for life is a toothpaste that defends against tender, inflamed gums, sensitivity and weak enamel.
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do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain; it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. side effects include headache, flushing, upset stomach, and abnormal vision. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. this is the age of taking action. viagra. talk to your doctor. she was crying, we were all crying, and the thing she told me, it really started when they heard gunshots and heard screams on the intercom. the intercom came on and there were screams, and the school went on lockdown, and based on what she said, she was in art class and hiding in the closet, a tiny closet, all bundled up and hearing screams. it was horrible. >> that was the older brother of a student at sandy hook
elementary. he rushed to the scene as soon as he heard the gunshots. the shooting at sandy hook elementary has reverberated around the country and the world. the front-page headline from the day in new london, connecticut. it simply reads unthinkable. the picture capturing the enormity of the attack. the hartford current, the same headline quoting from the president "our hearts our breaken," and bakersfield, california. "senseless." a picture of a woman who is a teacher at sandy hook and trying to get information about her sister. authorities may release the names of all of those who lost their lives in the attack later today. the newtown shooting happened a day after state lawmakers in michigan passed a bill that will allow gun owners with permits to carry a concealed weapon with previously banned places, including
schools. representative clark, thank you for being here. i -- i know this bill passage is coincidental, of course, but can you put it all into perspective for us? >> you know, this is very difficult for me. personally, when i was 9 years old. i grew up in the city of detroit, i saw a man murdered right in front of me, shot in the head and died in front of me. and for the next 26 years of my life, i never spoke about the incident. so while our country supports the families of the victims, i also want us to continue to provide love and support to those who physically survived that incident. >> representative clarke, i'm so
sorry you had to experience that. it is clear that is something that has not left you. will never leave you. how often do you think about that? >> i think it's the fact that i chose not to remember it, for more than two decades of my life, that if i had -- if i could have just spoken to someone about it afterward. i think that's one reason why i chose public life, because i couldn't save that man as he was dying in front of me, but i felt if i maybe i could redeem myself by helping other people. >> so -- >> that's been decades ago, in any event, i would like to focus on the issue at hand here. we as policymakers, but we as a
country need to address the underlying causes of this violence, and more than just changing gun laws. we need to get rid of the stigma of being mentally ill. many citizens who are depressed, mentally ill, seem ashamed to seek out treatment. we need to end that stigma, but also our culture is too violent. we have to address the issue that violence is glamorized by popular media, in movies, video games, in the lyrics of music. we have got to address this issue as a nation. >> he >> hear hear. i whole heartedly agree with you. what can the federal government do to help that happen? >> i think it's important that we provide the resources for mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment.
right now, the federal government, we spend billions of dollars more in taxpayers' money on the federal prison system than we do montanaal health services and addiction services. and that's something i'm going to speak about in congress next week. >> new york city mayor michael bloomberg issued a statement that read in part, president obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in newtown, but what we need him s not enough. we need immediate action. we've heard all the rhetoric before. what we have not seen in is leadership, not from the white house not from congress. that must end today. this is a national tragedy and demands a national response." will newtown change this? >> yes, i believe that congress will reconsider the current ban
or the current ban that expired on semiautomatic assault weapons. especially those firearms that have magazines with the capacity to shoot 100 rounds at one time. but we've got to deal with the underlying causes of this violence. which is a stigma that's on mental illness, and dealing with our culture of violences are that's promoted in our popular media. >> representative hanson clark. sir, thank you for sharing your story. it is heartfelt. i appreciate your time. i really believe you're out there in congress to fix that and we're proud of that. thank you. >> thank you, god bless. the connecticut state police will be holding a news conference in just about ten minutes. we are going to bring that to you live. so stay with us for continuing coverage from connecticut here on "weekends with alex witt."
it's chaotic and it's phenomenal. you know, living in a rural area of connecticut where -- where something like this could -- could transpire. there's never any crime here. everybody's happy. it's a family-oriented community. >> that was a stunned resident describing the community that never expected such a violent crime to their peaceful, rural town. joining me once again from newtown, connecticut, is msnbc's chris jansing. chris, set the scene for us. >> well, obviously, people here are waking up to a devastating reality. and you have are 20 young children who were killed. six hours. and the mother of the shooter and the shooter as well. this has drawn international attention. i think if we are here live, we can take a look at the huge
crowd that's starting to gather. because if we can just pan over a little bit, i think you can see, more people have come here since we got here yesterday. and we have a number of questions, obviously, we're hoping to have answered. we know that the families of the victims have been officially identified we will see whether or not we get the names of those killed yesterday. there's been some conflicting reports about had you the gunman gained entry. was he buzzed into the school through the security system. did he shoot his way in. that's the question we'll have. also the outstanding question which is why? and it is unlikely that we'll have any real answer to that, at least in the short term. alex. >> all right. msnbc's chris jansing we have a long day ahead. we want to remind all of you again that the connecticut state police is expected to brief the media in just a few minutes now. my colleague chris hayes will continue after the break. i will see you next weekend on
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